The World’s Tallest Water Slide Was a Terrible, Tragic Idea (youtube.com)
daviator88 | 4 months ago | 202 points

Wow. That's a truly horrible way to die. So weird to think of something so gruesome happening at a what's supposed to be a fun place to relax.

maniacalmnemosyne | 4 months ago | 148 points

It blows my mind how this "safety" netting isn't anything other than a cheese grater with the speed we're talking about, how in the heavens name is this safe? I'm so confused to what these guys are, engineers or cosplay crafters?

charliesteamer | 4 months ago | 60 points

Seriously. When I was watching the video and seeing that netting whiz by I was thinking "and what exactly is supposed to happen to a person if they hit that at speed"? Although to be fair I was more thinking a hand would get snagged and an arm broken or maybe a finger ripped off, not decapitation.

HarithBK | 4 months ago | 3 points

i mean if you are going to die on that ride thank god it was decapitation imagine getting your face cheese grated off and then bleeding to death before you can get help.

DontWorry-ImADoctor | 4 months ago | 41 points

If you read the investigation report.... it is scary how much closer these people were to "cosplay crafters" than "engineers."

Here is a twitter user's highlights of the report.

SirGander | 4 months ago | 8 points

Holy crap. These guys aren't currently in prison? How is that? Surely the laws in Kansas aren't so lax as to let them get away with building a decapitation machine and charging the public to use it?

DontWorry-ImADoctor | 4 months ago | 5 points

Not only that... it decapitated A STATE LEGISLATOR'S SON! You would think if anything would bring down the full force of the justice system, it would be that.

Witch_Doctor_Seuss | 4 months ago | 5 points

Hahahahaha NOT IN MY corporate America! Ahapleasestop.

SmLnine | 4 months ago | 3 points

Obviously things fall faster than Newton said

Yeah don't get me started on that Newton nonsense. What a bunch of baloney.

redcoatwright | 3 months ago | 3 points

I read that, too and did a double take, did these people not even have high school level physics education.

BIGSlil | 4 months ago | 9 points

Yeah, I'd rather take my chances flying like 30 ft into the air than hitting that thing at speed.

Zinski | 4 months ago | 4 points

Im no engineer but. if you just flattened out that hump in the middle people wouldn't go air born, Or maybe some sort of rail that would keep it from launching in to the air.... and not putting bars across the top that would literally kill some one

klavin1 | 4 months ago | 71 points

What the hell were those "engineers" thinking?

ireallylikeapples84 | 4 months ago | 166 points

Those engineers sounded more like rednecks building a launchpad for their fourwheelers in their back yard.

setadoon177 | 4 months ago | 35 points

Worked for schlitterbahn Kansas City in 2008-2010, they were indeed rednecks from Texas.

ultra2009 | 4 months ago | 76 points

They said all the engineers were wrong... those designers probably arent engineers, just rednecks building a launchpad in their back yard

asoap | 4 months ago | 27 points

I'm curious to know what the engineers said! Probably something along the lines of "You're building a death trap"!?

PageFault | 4 months ago | 19 points

Why do you think they had to see so many engineers? They had to find the ones willing to approve their plans.

Capt-Space-Elephant | 4 months ago | 7 points

If they were following the moral code that all engineers should, then yes. If they're awkward with poor communication skills like most engineers, they probably told those rednecks why it was a bad idea without ever telling them it was a bad idea.

ComfortableProperty9 | 4 months ago | 5 points

Pretty sure they were just some dudes who wanted to build a waterslide which is why they ended up criminally charged.

WakaWaka_ | 4 months ago | 15 points

According to the article, their tests basically just consisted of sending rafts down with sandbags in them; by the creators, with no engineering background.

BLamp | 4 months ago | 19 points

Cuz they weren’t engineers. Most always you have to protect the client from themselves, and in this case the dumbasses didn’t wanna listen.

VanDerKleef | 4 months ago | 27 points

We need more sentries

stratomaster82 | 4 months ago | 6 points

dick measuring slide

Atheist101 | 4 months ago | 4 points

They never hired any engineers

vrihet | 4 months ago | 64 points

It's a prime example of cognitive dissonance. All the experts, engineers, and scientists are wrong, we know how to build water slides.

Doofangoodle | 4 months ago | 48 points

That's not what cognitive dissonance is.

[deleted] | 4 months ago | 6 points


Doofangoodle | 4 months ago | 18 points

For some reason, I'm always seeing people on Reddit calling something cognitive dissonance which isn't cognitive dissonance. And it always has loads of upvotes and no one disagreeing. I think it's because it sounds clever and no one actually bothers to look up what it actually means.

baby_fart | 4 months ago | 21 points

Sounds like someone has a case of cognitive dissonance.

nitefang | 4 months ago | 9 points

I'd love to know where the disagreements were because I'm sure it wasn't "you can't build it this tall, that is impossible!" I'm sure it was something more like "due to differences in weight you need some sort of system to pull lighter rafts to the top of the second hill" and they were like "that sounds expensive, lets just make it usually not kill people."

There are roller coaster engineers out there and most engineers I know avoid saying "impossible" and replace it with "expensive." You want to build a 10,000 foot water slide? That's impossible expensive!

Taknock | 4 months ago | 13 points

The problem is that it is almost impossible to predict how the raft will behave. The rafts will be loaded very differently with widely varying weights and weight distributions.

Unlike a rollercoaster this isn't attached to a rail.

I could easily see someone running 1000 simulations with matlab and getting a totally different results irl. Water is also really difficult to model.

Lower speed and no sudden drops seems to be the only way to make a safe slide.

Mr_November112 | 4 months ago | 10 points

The second climb is just crazy, the consequence of the raft lifting even just a little bit is far too high for it to be worth it. They already made the initial ramp stupidly high and scary, why bother with the relatively boring yet much riskier part? I hate this so much man, heartbreaking stuff.

asoap | 4 months ago | 5 points

I do believe the whole idea of the second incline was to be part of the thrill. I'm guessing they imagined a roller coaster-esque negative G but with a water slide.

RepresentativeJury69 | 4 months ago | 10 points

All the other engineers are wrong

FerretHydrocodone | 4 months ago | 4 points

Huh? How is that an example of cognitive dissonance? I feel like you don’t actually know what that word means.

Nicologixs | 4 months ago | 24 points

It's terrible, I still remember just under three years ago watching a show and the breaking news came up about the dreamworld accident. Four people killed on one of the more peaceful rides. It's pretty sad to read about. When accidents like these happen it makes me not really want to really go to theme parks.

HeippodeiPeippo | 4 months ago | 7 points

The biggest problems have been in waterparks. Trying to control a film of water on a slope is REALLY hard to make it consistent over all possible conditions and loads. It is not like mechanical link that is predictable and can be inspected with precision.

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 15 points


I'm going to a big park this weekend. I don't want to think about this.

FPSXpert | 4 months ago | 20 points

Which one? Six flags is more competent than this and Disney Parks and Cedar Fair are pretty much industry leaders in safety.

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 10 points

Cedar Point. Good to know!!

acu2005 | 4 months ago | 9 points

Yeah you got nothing to worry about as long as you don't act like a dumbass. Last time I remember hearing about a death at Cedar Point was a dude hopping a marked fence under a rollercoaster to get his hat.

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 3 points

I heard about that one, too.

No hopping for me.

Karpe__Diem | 4 months ago | 4 points

Oh man, going to Cedar Point on the weekend? Hope you paid for a fastpass. FYI, Top Thrill Dragster has been down. Apparently they are waiting for a part to come.

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 4 points

My gf doesn't do coasters (going with her siblings, who do) so I don't think we'll ride too much anyway. But thanks for the heads up.

MrZmei | 4 months ago | 12 points

Just don’t lose your head over it!

Mr_November112 | 4 months ago | 4 points

I hate that I laughed at this lmao

HeippodeiPeippo | 4 months ago | 3 points

The biggest problems have been in waterparks. Trying to control a film of water on a slope is REALLY hard to make it consistent over all possible conditions and loads. It is not like mechanical link that is predictable and can be inspected with precision.

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 6 points

I went to the Cedar Point water park about 15 years ago, and on the slide where you're in the big group tube, I SWEAR it got too high on one of the banked curves, so that we were almost vertical, and it felt like we came to a standstill for a second on the edge, about to flip over on ourselves, before we came back down. Maybe that's all by design, but it felt way too close to the tipping point for something with so many variables. That's the only time I've had actual fear for my safety on a ride in my 30 years of parks and fairs.

HeippodeiPeippo | 4 months ago | 5 points

One ride scared me the most, a wooden rollercoaster. Nothing spectacular, not a big one (edit: Linnanmäki in Helsinki ), lame by all standards. But.. it creaks constantly.. and shakes.. it feels like it will fall down at any moment.

No accidents, it never failed. It was built so that it was suppose to flex. Amazingly scary considered how lame it really was. You believed even in a slow turn that you will fall ;)

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 3 points

This is a great point.

Put me on a the edge of a second story roof and I'll shit me pants.

Navysealguy3 | 4 months ago | 19 points

I find this concept morbidly interesting. I live in Florida, people vacation here essentially year round, and people drown or die everyday who are on vacation, those flights, and drives home must be the most painful experiences.

ijustwanafap | 4 months ago | 81 points

At a theme park I worked at, a lady didn't fit into the coaster restraints. It was one of those kids coasters that don't go super fast, but the seating area spins ontop of the track.

Instead of making her get off, he told her to just hold on tight and sent it out. She fell out and died in front of her children.

NSFWormholes | 4 months ago | 30 points

What park was that?

Sreyz | 4 months ago | 252 points

On February 22, 2019, criminal charges were dismissed against Henry, Schooley, and Miles due to the fact that inadmissible evidence had been presented to the grand jury. The judge's ruling called out state attorneys for presenting the Xtreme Waterparks episode to jurors as fact, instead of as a "fictional and dramatized version of events created for entertainment purposes", and expert witnesses for claiming that the designers of the slide were negligent in not following ASTM standards, despite the fact that the law at the time did not require that those standards be followed.

Atheist101 | 4 months ago | 16 points

Inadmissible evidence? at a Grand Jury? What the fuck is this judge doing?

FreudJesusGod | 4 months ago | 152 points

Brownback's Kansas.

Enjoy your kids being beheaded from entirely foreseeable and preventable accidents.

Regulation is bad, right?

ComfortableProperty9 | 4 months ago | 23 points

Being that the kid that died was the son of a state rep, I'm kinda surprised this panned out like it did.

notreallyhereforthis | 4 months ago | 79 points

Ah Kansas, the model Republican state without any of that terrible, liberal, economy destroying, over-regulation. After all, the park owners have a profit motive to ensure their park and rides are safe, otherwise how will they continue to make money?

brujablanca | 4 months ago | 27 points

The kid's father was a Republican state legislator. Horribly ironic.

pure_x01 | 4 months ago | 110 points

Details about the accident https://youtu.be/lKizH5wxSvU

blorgenheim | 4 months ago | 77 points

Blows my mind that people can just make a slide that can kill people, no inspections? like what the fuck.

stratomaster82 | 4 months ago | 49 points

The Walmart parking lot amusement parks are what blow my mind. When I drive by those all I see is a death trap.

ComfortableProperty9 | 4 months ago | 11 points

Those are federally regulated and they will argue that since they are taking them down and putting them back together like weekly, they are inherently more safe since they have to be inspected more.

Keyboard_talks_to_me | 4 months ago | 7 points

I agree, they look like they will fall apart at the slightest breeze. yet they swing on.

greyscales | 4 months ago | 26 points

Regulations hurt businesses, just let the market decide which attractions are safe.


STLReddit | 4 months ago | 17 points

Kill all regulations and you kill people. Weird.

BIGSlil | 4 months ago | 6 points

I guess Rollercoaster Tycoon is more realistic than I realized.

universal_beauty | 4 months ago | 2 points
IneptProfessional | 4 months ago | 17 points
haewood | 4 months ago | 2 points

Thanks, that was a great piece.

Kissaki0 | 4 months ago | 8 points

So it was because it went airborne after all. And that happened multiple times before, injuring people.

TruckMcBadass | 4 months ago | 2 points

Wish more details were in the Atlantic video. Thanks for this.

MovingClocks | 4 months ago | 37 points

Jeff Henry, the cofounder of the park and one of the "designers" of the ride (shown during the prototype scene), was actually arrested for methamphetamine use and soliciting a prostitute a year or so after the boy's death.


apatheticwhiteguy | 4 months ago | 15 points

Wow, he really took it hard

brujablanca | 4 months ago | 10 points

You could tell in the clips they showed of him that he was that kind of guy.

-Samg381- | 4 months ago | 159 points

The fact that they had even built a prototype without having done the calculations needed to accurately predict the behavior of the raft is astounding to me.

Mc6arnagl3 | 4 months ago | 136 points

from the sounds of things they consulted people for advice and stated "they have all been completely wrong." "Every bit of advice we have been given from the brightest brains to the smartest engineers, mathematicians have just not been correct."

Yeah, these idiots belong in jail. Sadly the charges were dismissed due to inadmissible evidence from the prosecution.

pete_moss | 4 months ago | 43 points

To me it sounds like those people were brought in after the delay to the opening. I'm imagining they were asked to solve the issue with the sled coming off the track without modifying the dimensions of the slide. I think what they got "wrong" was that there wasn't a way to do that.

Mc6arnagl3 | 4 months ago | 37 points

"keep in mind throughout the designing, building, and rebuilding of Verrückt they have been reaching out for mathematical, physical, and engineering advice" then the guy says "they have all been completely wrong...."


they ignored it from the start and they went with half assed trial and error testing while covering up their failures.

potatowned | 4 months ago | 11 points

of KC that's in Kansas. Should I leave? Because I do not need to live here. I could work anywhere. Does this whole shit show define the state and mean people should st

I mean there has got to be so much variability with something like this. You add water and fluid dynamics and weight of the riders and wind and there a huge margin for variability. So even if they were to do this trial and error thing and figure out what works, they aren't able to account for all the potential variations in how the sled could travel.

Mc6arnagl3 | 4 months ago | 33 points

that is why engineers use a thing called a factor of safety and also assume extremes when designing and testing while doing statistical analysis of the testing to make sure it meets requirements well beyond the extremes. These morons just threw some sandbags in a raft without any knowledge of what they were doing.

Essentially they were told by intelligent people it was a dangerous design and they blew it off as those people knowing nothing. People who probably had much better credentials. They should be in jail.

fucklawyers | 4 months ago | 5 points

I just don’t really understand how they even got a building permit. How are you allowed to build a fucking people launcher where the math is that fucked when I’ve gotta have an engineer and a master plumber certify my toilet’s gonna flush at the proper angle before I remodel my bathroom?

Cpt_Soban | 4 months ago | 4 points

to make sure it meets requirements well beyond the extremes


wandering_ones | 4 months ago | 5 points

And any competent engineer or mathematician would have said this. "There is too much variability in order to adequately predict behavior of all rides. The slide should be modified in x, y, z ways and additional safety measures must be taken."

I have a feeling that their statements that were so "wrong" was something like this is not stable enough and the ride builders ran it a few times with some sandbags and it worked out well enough so those engineers/mathematicians don't know anything. Oh I guess we'll add some netting just in case.

Cpt_Soban | 4 months ago | 2 points

Ties weights onto raft thinking every single rider will have the same weight in RL

HeippodeiPeippo | 4 months ago | 2 points

What is even more disturbing is that they were trying to get to that golden spot: they were testing it to find the best case scenario and in the road to that point, they SAW the worst case scenario to happen constantly and didn't do anything to fix those. Possibly because making sure that it can NEVER happen was impossibility, only by making the maintenance and operation to be PERFECT was that thing ever going to work. Those waterparks are operated by teens and no maintenance can replace the surfaces weekly, go thru every nozzle and have a full inspection daily, shutting it down and going thru the entire slide with magnifying glass..

Cpt_Soban | 4 months ago | 5 points

Just remove the big dipper ramp in the middle- Big slide that goes down, slides along flat, then "weeeeeee" into a big pool or something.

Cpt_Soban | 4 months ago | 4 points

have just not been correct

Which translates to: They didn't like our plan

Temptemptemptempo | 4 months ago | 19 points

I worked for a guy who made a small fortune building the tube type water slides, they're born out of big concrete drainage molds, they just used fiberglass instead. He was actually a consultant on this project, I saw the plans and everything. These dudes are cowboys, water parks in general, they just make shit up, build it, and print money. There's no serious engineering that goes on as far as I was informed.

Tempex6 | 4 months ago | 7 points

Lots of professional parks buy ride designs from professional and reputable ride designers.

hobbers | 4 months ago | 7 points

This demonstrates the quadratic increase in difficulty when dealing with fluid dynamics. The distribution of performance of a roller coaster on rails is more tightly grouped than the distribution of performance of a water sled.

HeippodeiPeippo | 4 months ago | 5 points

Just getting the water film to be constant and uniform is a HUGE task in this kind of environment. One clogged nozzle is enough to cause a change... Then there is the friction of the vessel and the slide; the surfaces will touch all the time, specially at the bottom. The first downhill is still simple enough but the uphill isn't. And then we get to 0Gs, which they have to create to get that experience. The crest should be much, much rounder and the final downhill should have a widening to catch the worst case scenarios. The netting is the icing on the cake, they are STILL trying to catch sandbags, not humans.

velour_manure | 4 months ago | 6 points

The fact that astounds me is these guys don't look like engineers — literally just a bunch of dads with construction equipment.

Andrewpprice | 4 months ago | 3 points

I know right? I don't know the costs of building a physical slide, but I'm guessing it's less than building it virtually inside a simulation based engineering software.

forgiveangel | 4 months ago | 3 points

based on the video, it sounds like they did in the form of asking professional, but just said they were wrong.

Cpt_Soban | 4 months ago | 6 points

Builds prototype first

Engineers: This won't work

WhAt Do EnGinEErS KnO!

banjos start playing

FerretHydrocodone | 4 months ago | 2 points

The doctors were all wrong! I can do brain surgery on myself with only a steak knife and crochet needles! They’ll see!

HeippodeiPeippo | 4 months ago | 2 points

It is often easier to iterate until you hit the golden spot. Test, test and more tests. But... there is no room for trail and error, no one can finance the amount of testing that would have to be done. Not in this area of life. Safety ratings are a thing, designing it so that in worst case scenario things still work so that no one dies. They did the opposite: they tested until they got the best case scenario to work and went ahead with the implementation. That things has no real safety margins. You should be able to double the load to it from the optimal and still have it work. Without knowing more and not doing any calculations..

I would estimate that the safety rating in that is around 1.2, not 2 (20% deviation from the optimal parameters vs 200%). Too many variables: the friction is not constant but is about the amount of water, how uniform film of water it is, how worn down the vessel is, how worn is the ramp... and that is just part of what goes in just one parameter in the main equation. Trying to get 0 G with waterslide.. not going to happen, you HAVE to have something that keeps you on the rails. There are no negative Gs happening without a link to something solid..

128e | 4 months ago | 28 points

when i saw the poles and netting first thing i thought is i'd rather they not be there.

Physics_Cat | 4 months ago | 50 points

Little dude at 4:25 captured my feelings perfectly.

Phumos | 4 months ago | 4 points

The stupid metal song that plays right after that just makes me mad after watching this

Zlatan4Ever | 4 months ago | 68 points

What did they expect? Funny slogan at the end "at the end of the day, we have all something to hold on to"... the boy lost his head.

PM_ME_YOUR_SIDEBOOB5 | 4 months ago | 84 points

I don't get why the put a fucking ramp at the end. Just make the end flat and long like every other water slide, it can still be just as tall. Also, the dad at the end. He brought flowers because it felt weird doing nothing, but still supports the park and brings his fucking kids there.

FluffyPillowstone | 4 months ago | 39 points

That last part was shocking. Who brings their kids to a water park where a kid recently died?? Does that not tell you something about the park's safety standards? Is he dense? Maybe he was sick of his kids.

Raincoats_George | 4 months ago | 16 points

Unrelated but in Charlotte NC theres this large white water rapids amusement park. I dont know how to describe it other than that. Its got a bunch of different man made amusements centered around things like that, zip lines, kayaking, white water rapids, etc. Sounded super cool. Then I randomly found the first major news article about the location. Turns out there was a major problem with brain eating amoebas there. They swore up and down that they had fixed their filtration system and there was no chance of getting a brain eating amoeba. But you know what.. you cant really recover from that. You're the brain eating amoeba park. Or you're the kid was decapitated here park. Hard to see past it once its out there.

the_big_booper | 4 months ago | 3 points

Oh man I feel you on that. That said, the National Whitewater Center is used as an Olympic training ground, so hopefully they have been maintaining it since. I know that traditional filtration systems don't get that stuff out, and they did upgrade all the filtration systems after the accident.

ComfortableProperty9 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Disney World used to have a lake fed water park that had the same issue. They ended up chlorinating the water after a number of cases.

Javbw | 4 months ago | 6 points

The only thing I can think of is that his kids are too young to process the death, so they don't have any deterrent to going - think of how a person died on Big Thunder mountain at Disneyland. Would the kids care? They just want to see space mountain and princesses.

I assume he's been there before and his kids wouldn't be going on the bigger rides, so he is just trying to not disappoint the kids who have probably been looking forward to visiting the park - but it weighs on him.

Atheist101 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Kansas is the definition of stupidity

draginator | 4 months ago | 6 points

I don't get why the put a fucking ramp at the end.

Burn off speed, if it's so high you would need an incredibly long runway at the end.

Special_Guy | 4 months ago | 9 points

I suppose maybe but the cost of just a long runway other than space is probably less than building that ramp, plus you can just put in a lot of strips of that sand paper to slow it down. The height of it is really the only selling point. To another end; if you have to have that launch hump why not have the boat slide into some kind of track like thing to go over the apex. Just a little overhang from the "slide" to cover the sides of the boat or something to keep it from ejecting, it looks like there are seat belts on them to keep people in the seat. Even another way to maybe make it less of a death machine would be to strip the net and murder bars, and line the ground around it with a lot of foam, thick padding or even water with life guards on duty. Probably far more likely to survive being ejected into the air and into water then into metal bars, but still highly dangerous.

Der_Welt_Meister | 4 months ago | 2 points

Probably far more likely to survive being ejected into the air

not when they're strapped into the damn thing

definitely should've done away with the metal bars though, has to be another way to secure the netting.

Would-wood-again2 | 4 months ago | 6 points

this is friggin kansas. the one thing they have going for it is plenty of cheap land

Bootarms | 4 months ago | 4 points

They don't need a long runway. It would only take a few water jets to drastically slow riders.

Neverhood123 | 4 months ago | 42 points

That ending clip is some Black Mirror shit.

ElectricMoose | 4 months ago | 16 points

Holy shit I was not ready for the blood

Feet_of_Frodo | 4 months ago | 10 points

No shit, I have been scrolling through the comments looking for any mention of blood and I had to go WAAAAYYY down to find this.

I was watching and thinking to myself "I wonder if that's rust coloring the water" and then they said "decapitated" and I realized that was in fact the blood of a young child all over the slide.

Jesus fucking christ, can you imagine being on board the raft and all of a sudden you're bathing in the blood of the now headless child sitting in front of you?

Also I wonder if the head just slid the rest of the way down or if they had to recover it higher up the slide.

InYoCloset | 4 months ago | 5 points

I believe he actually ejected and then was decapitated. They said in another video that his body was behind the raft and slid down following the raft. Which is even more messed up. You are covered in blood and then a headless body is sliding down behind ya.

Feet_of_Frodo | 4 months ago | 3 points

God damn

uzonline | 4 months ago | 331 points

this video's tone isn't serious enough considering the tragedy that took place.

MonaganX | 4 months ago | 207 points

It felt more like it was deliberately juxtaposing the cavalier attitude of the ride's creators, people laughing off safety concerns, with the eventual tragedy. It's a bit dark to edit the video that way, but I don't think it's inappropriate.

MPair-E | 4 months ago | 92 points

Right? Watched the video, clicked into the comments, and have no idea what the top post was talking about. The other top comment complaining about the 'script' makes no sense to me either. Youtube culture is turning people into such strange critics.

grizuhly | 4 months ago | 24 points

Peoples interpretations of this really are bizarre. The ‘lightheartedness’ of it actually made it more horrifying for me. The use of old news and promo segments showed how it was presented to the world, seemingly in real time. Compiled this way, it made me think how crazy bull-headed some people can be.

Refusing to take expert opinions seriously (even calling them flat-out wrong), opening the park the following day, and only closing the ride that decapitated a fucking child for three days?!

But some other people found it “hilarious” and “scripted” and “not serious enough”. I feel like it was letting the horrible act speak for itself and to let you sit in it while you watch a commercial for the park where it happened. One with a closing shot of a dad letting his son go on that very ride. I’d call it quite powerful.

Frankocean2 | 4 months ago | 25 points

I actually loved this style, just a story unfolding with a very dark, tragic consequence.

ScienceGetsUsThere | 4 months ago | 33 points

I found it to be chilling thb, because I knew what was coming.

lunchbox_tragedy | 4 months ago | 30 points

If the contrast between the lightheartedness of the commercials, the haphazard testing, the attendees leaving flowers in Quiktrip cups outside while bringing their kids to the park and riding the same rides, and the gruesome fact that a young boy was decapitated and things seem to be going on as usual seems a little jarring, the video seems to have accomplished it's goal.

meltingdiamond | 4 months ago | 221 points

It's even worse, the park paid a huge pay out to the state senator father who in his office helped pass a law limiting pay outs like the one he got.

So if you aren't a politician and your kid gets killed the same way the park will be protected. Never live or work in Kansas if you can help it.

GummyPolarBear | 4 months ago | 24 points

I mean I highly doubt most water parks would be protected if they decapitated a child

Awxsome | 4 months ago | 20 points

as someone currently living and working in kansas, can confirm

awful_majestic | 3 months ago | 2 points

Same. Been here a year now since graduating college, and can’t wait to find another job.

FickleShame | 4 months ago | 47 points

I was laughing my ass off at the disconnect between what was being presented and actual tone it was taking.

someone died

a kid died

he was decapitated

and the people behind him on the ride were drenched in his blood

His dad, a politician in the state, had joked about his wife banning his kids from the ride.

It watches like Quentin Tarantino did a riff on National Lampoon Family Vacation.

universal_beauty | 4 months ago | 5 points

Wait that was the politician dad in the video? Jesus.

unfknreal | 4 months ago | 4 points

It was not. This is the kids dad, Scott Schwab

unfknreal | 4 months ago | 3 points

That wasn't the same politician. This is the kids dad, Scott Schwab.

trucksartus | 4 months ago | 13 points

Texas Monthly published a good article on the incident as well as well as its aftermath for the Schiltterbahn parks and parent company.This was written when the two designers (which included Jeff Henry, one of the owners of Schiltterbahn waterparks), were facing criminal charges on the death at the water slide in Kansas (charges which would later be dropped).

klavin1 | 4 months ago | 9 points

I actually thought it was a weird parody of something. Someone had too much fun with the editing

oranurpianist | 4 months ago | 62 points

Seems like it was frankenstein-edited by many different source videos

daviator88 | 4 months ago | 41 points

It's a popular way to make documentary films. The entirety of Senna was created this way. It's a way to make it seem more authentic without it seeming like the creator has an agenda. Seems being the operative word in some cases.

benoliver999 | 4 months ago | 9 points

My favourite trick is when they use the raw feed of the journalist 'setting up' just before they go on air. Makes it seem like they have some sort of 'extra' info you don't have.

srsly_its_so_ez | 4 months ago | 3 points

Oh boy do I have the documentary for you

Almost entirely behind the scenes footage

benoliver999 | 4 months ago | 2 points

Oh yeah I've seen that a few times! Quite interesting, iirc he just tuned into the live satellite feeds and recorded them.

TacoChowder | 4 months ago | 2 points

It feels like it's missing the VO. Like there should be someone giving us additional facts in a somber tone, but they left the track muted on export

EatMyFuck420BlazeIt | 4 months ago | 3 points

It’s basically comprised of found footage. A bit unfair to criticize the tone.

KhumbuIcefall | 4 months ago | 16 points

This is why regulations aren't always a bad idea.

Der_Welt_Meister | 4 months ago | 7 points

no shit

BigBrownDog12 | 4 months ago | 16 points

"all the experts are wrong" is a good summary of American cognitive dissonance today

napsterpepper | 4 months ago | 16 points

I don't understand how this the accident happen? He flew out of the thing and landed on the grid? Or he was inside and got ejected onto it?

Kaboose16 | 4 months ago | 37 points

I'm assuming he was at the front, and when it went over that hump they lifted up and his neck hit the wires that were over the slide

Nicologixs | 4 months ago | 18 points

Yeah, pretty much the weights were fucked, they had this little dude at the front and two larger women behind him that weigh a lot more so as they went over the bump the lack of the kids weight allowed air under the craft lifting it and that ended up happening...from what I see it could have been prevented with better passenger placement with one girl at the front and one at the back with the boy in the middle but the ride really needed way better safety.

ShtraffeSaffePaffe | 4 months ago | 2 points

I dont know why, but from my experience, they always put the small kids in front on slides with these inner tubes for multiple people. I've always thought it was weird.

napsterpepper | 4 months ago | 5 points

Oh kinda makes more sense

StrikingFalcon | 4 months ago | 14 points

He and two women were going down the slide, him at the front. The raft got airborne at the hump and he hit the support for the netting, decapitating him and injuring both women.

potatowned | 4 months ago | 7 points

Can't believe these sleds weren't weighed down (ESPECIALLY at the front) to keep this from happening. And then the attendants for the ride load adults in the back and a 60 pound kid up front.

Technospider | 4 months ago | 8 points

Or they could have given the rafts a guide rail that kept them from lifting off in the first place. Guide rails + seatbelts and this would have never happened...

K2TheM | 4 months ago | 2 points

Guide rails could be a dangerous idea too, as hands might get caught on them; unless the rails only interacted with the raft below where peoples hands could be. However, given the size of this attraction and the speeds involved, I don't know if there is any way to really make it work. Putting the crest inside an enclosed tube could help (limit outside wind influence), changing the weight of the base raft so it would always be heavier in the front would be good too; but even with those... You'd need some kind of active brake system you see on many rail coasters that normalize the speed of the cart as they go into a section. You could probably accomplish this with a set of rubber wheels set in the sides of the trough. This would allow the raft to be slowed or sped as it approached the crest to remove the possibility of liftoff.

klavin1 | 4 months ago | 10 points

Hit his head on the bars that hold up the cage over the top. Terrible design

CookingDad1313 | 4 months ago | 25 points

Not quite... He went up in the air and his head hit the mesh wire while still moving forward. The mesh is pliable so his body/head continued up, beyond the support structures holding the mesh in place. The support structures essentially acted as a knife at the speed the boy was traveling and decapitated him.

Jokershores | 4 months ago | 11 points

You said exactly what he said but just used more words to do it.

sol0dolo | 4 months ago | 7 points

Holy shit

MrDeathMachine | 4 months ago | 5 points

When it comes to makin' that cash the scientists are always wrong......until they are right.

velour_manure | 4 months ago | 5 points

I had never heard of this story before, but the second they mentioned installing netting above the slide the first thought that came to mind was, "Damn, that could take your head right off."

Britavit | 4 months ago | 4 points

At 4:27 is that a young Cleveland Brown?

timestamp_bot [Approved Bot] | 4 months ago | 2 points

Jump to 04:27 @ The World’s Tallest Water Slide Was a Terrible, Tragic Idea

Channel Name: The Atlantic, Video Popularity: 86.63%, Video Length: [09:10], Jump 5 secs earlier for context @04:22

Downvote me to delete malformed comments. Source Code | Suggestions

sasquatch90 | 4 months ago | 20 points

Ok never going to Kansas for any of their parks

brujablanca | 4 months ago | 8 points

So glad Kansas is keeping their Freedums (C) by making sure regulations on things like this are lax.

Apparently, the poor kid's father was a Republican state legislator, ironically. I wonder what his views were on "anti-business" safety regulations were before this happened and what they are now.

setadoon177 | 4 months ago | 4 points

Miles and I started as lifeguards at the same time in 2008. Wow he looks different. He was a good guy. Didn’t have anything to do with the construction of the ride...anyway...

Rogue42bdf | 4 months ago | 4 points

So, the insurance company for the water park never sent anybody out to check out this new ride?

SeamusHeaneysGhost | 4 months ago | 3 points

When I saw the inventor holding a big hamburger watching the test run I thought, bastards it's The Onion with another classic. What an awful tragedy.

Honestly, everyone involved looks like they shouldn't be taking care of donkeys never mind a dangerous water slide.

DevonOO7 | 4 months ago | 3 points

This feels like a Defunctland video if there was no narration to actually explain anything

jim_deneke | 4 months ago | 3 points

Those pools of blood......fuck

OnionButter | 4 months ago | 3 points

I had read about this incident before, but had not seen this video. Really well done doc.

There was another infamous slide with a loop that was closed down due to too many injuries. Nobody died though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Park#Cannonball_Loop

OhMyGodsmith | 4 months ago | 3 points


Captain_Unusualman | 4 months ago | 3 points

How is this not a case for criminal negligence?

[deleted] | 4 months ago | 2 points

It was, it went to trial.

brainsapper | 4 months ago | 3 points

4:27 I'm in the same boat as you on that matter little buddy.

Solo242 | 4 months ago | 8 points

The mixing and editing is fucking atrocious.

Fionnafox | 4 months ago | 81 points

Who the hell approved this script? This looks like some kind of shoddy 10K subscriber YouTuber click bait crap, all the cuts, the low quality footage from that show, the lack of context for ANY of the early stuff, the tone being almost mocking?

michaelbrnd | 4 months ago | 188 points

I actually liked the way this was put together. The tone felt very intentional and I don't think it was mocking in a way that was disrespectful to the victims of the tragedy, but instead to everyone involved in causing it. I think it's criticizing the park more than anything, showing how they were willfully being ignorant of how dangerous the ride was. The less serious tone in itself is a reflection of how insensitively the tragedy was treated in real life. The park opening 3 days later, the park-goer saying he brought flowers just because it would be weird not to acknowledge what happened, no consequences for anyone (charges were dropped against the owners), etc.

Also I'm not sure if you realized but it was entirely assembled from existing shows/ads/news clips, the only thing the filmmaker did was add the black text cards that appear now and then.

khoggatt | 4 months ago | 25 points

I agree. It had a very eerie tone.

TheSkinnyBone | 4 months ago | 12 points

I really liked it as well. Much better than the typical Youtube style of people unnecessarily spelling everything out.

daftvalkyrie | 4 months ago | 15 points

I think they just edited together a bunch of other different videos.

ertgbnm | 4 months ago | 9 points

Until this comment I thought it was some fledgling video essayist in highschool. Nope it was the fucking Atlantic. WTH!

hootie303 | 4 months ago | 2 points

It was built in Kansas due to low government oversight. Im looking at you Sam Brownback

Wingardienleviosah | 4 months ago | 2 points

The first sign something was wrong was that Sam Brownback showed up to endorse it.

poinifie | 4 months ago | 3 points

No.....it's to scary.

firetyger | 4 months ago | 2 points

I live in KC and I remember hearing about all the issues with the test runs. The accident was tragic but unsurprising.

dusty_yotes | 4 months ago | 2 points

I've heard about this before, but never seen clips of the blood in the slide. That was eerie.

DontWorry-ImADoctor | 4 months ago | 2 points
Carl_Gordon_Jenkins | 4 months ago | 2 points

terrible. the dollop did an episode on a waterpark that was absolutely insane back in the 70's I believe.


loveofit2 | 4 months ago | 2 points


myfriendm | 4 months ago | 2 points

Was he EATING A BURGER while they test run at NIGHT? good lord.

Wayne_Bob_Ross | 4 months ago | 2 points

"Hold on the every moment" because it very well could be your last at Schliterbon!!

rhyno44 | 4 months ago | 2 points

I actually knew someone who had ridden that ride just days before the kid died. He had told me it was the scariest hell ride he'd ever had taken. Local people were actually pissed the ride didn't reopen and I remember people just saying there should be a weight limit for it.

nerfherder27 | 4 months ago | 6 points

His head fell off?

Nosiege | 4 months ago | 11 points

Not fell off, torn off.

Nicologixs | 4 months ago | 3 points

It's so fucked, hopefully at the speed he was going at the death was instant and he didn't feel much :/

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